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Thursday, 6 December 1973
Page: 2540

Senator CANT (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - I direct a question to the Minister for the Media. Did he have the opportunity last night of seeing the 7 p.m. television news service of the Australian Broadcasting Commission? If he did, did he notice that Senator Rae appeared on the service to comment on the education Bills that were at that time before the Senate and that no Government spokesman was given an opportunity to appear? Also, did he note that the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives appeared on the program to comment on Government policy, without the Government's being given the opportunity to comment? Will the Minister advise the Commission of its obligation to present a balanced and unbiased viewpoint with regard to political matters, and in future endeavour to present to the viewing public both sides of the political spectrum?

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I did see the news telecast in which there was quite a lengthy interview with Senator Rae who represented the Opposition and who put the Opposition 's point of view on the education Bills that were discussed in the Senate yesterday. There was no Government spokesman or Government point of view offered on the same newscast. The interview was followed practically immediately by an interview with Mr Snedden, the Leader of the Opposition. I think it is fair to say- and I do so as a member of the Australian Journalists Association- that generally speaking journalists in the employ of the Australian Broadcasting Commission do a good job, and I hope that in the overall picture there is a balance of presentation of all points of view. Having drawn Senator Greenwood's constant complaints about partiality to the attention of the Commission I certainly will draw Senator Cant's comments to the attention of the Acting General Manager of the Commission. I will ask him to ensure that in all future newscasts there is an overall balance of all points of view.

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